Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Make For Malaysian Matchup
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team is ready to turn up the heat as it heads to the Sepang International Circuit for the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix, the last of the triple back-to-back races that mark the final push to the end of the season before the ultimate round in Valencia.
After a brilliant catch-up race by Valentino Rossi last weekend, the nine-time World Champion is impatient to meet his fans on the Malaysian track, which is one of his favourites on the calendar. The Doctor hopes to again finish on the podium this weekend to reconfirm his status as the current rider with the most premier class wins at the Malaysian circuit. The Italian snatched victory in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010, secured second place 2002, 2005 and 2014 and third place in 2009 and 2015.
Jorge Lorenzo is also looking forward to get back into action this weekend, this time with warmer temperatures. The Mallorcan has often expressed that he thoroughly enjoys the Sepang track. He hopes the resurfacing of the circuit combined with his smooth riding style will give him the edge he needs to claim his first premier class MotoGP victory there, having come close to the win last year. Lorenzo climbed the Malaysian premier class podium on five occasions, claiming second place in 2012 and 2015 and third place in 2010, 2013 and 2014.
The Sepang International Circuit held its first Grand Prix in 1999 and has been on the MotoGP calendar ever since. The track provides exciting racing thanks to a mixture of slow and medium to high-speed corners (five left and ten right) and two long straights, the longest measuring 920m, providing big challenges in bike set-up. The 5.5 km track is also testing for the riders, as it has one of the longest laps of the MotoGP season, which has to be completed in extremely hot and humid conditions.
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"We go now to Malaysia to start the last overseas race of the season. I am positive for Sepang, I think this is going to be quite good for us. The circuit has been resurfaced, which is challenging for the tyres, and it looks like there are no bumps, which the riders will appreciate. The last corner is off-camber, so it will be very particular, especially as this is a place where the riders are used to overtaking and it might be easy for them to make mistakes. Having good weather will be important and also the riders' physical condition can play a huge part in the race with the hot temperatures that we experience here so often. After two challenging weekends, for sure for the next rounds we would like to get some victories to finish the 2016 season in the best way, so that will be our objective."
Championship: 2nd, 216 points
"Sepang is one of my favourite tracks. I like it a lot, but it's also one of the most difficult races of the season due to the weather. It is always very hot and you must always be very careful with what you eat and drink. The weekend in Malaysia is very demanding physically, but I'm in good shape. The weekend on Phillip Island was very complicated but in the end we did a good race and I'm happy for that. I hope that in Malaysia we can be able to work well again from the first practice. I would like to make it a good race and go to the podium another time."
Championship: 3rd, 192 points
"The result in Phillip Island was unexpected for me. We struggle too much in these types of condition and I was not able to ride the way I wanted to. The temperature was too cold and that is why I suffered a lot, it was difficult to warm up the tyres. Sepang is a very different track. We know the layout pretty well because usually we test there a lot of times, but this season something has changed. The asphalt is new and will be different from what we checked out during the preseason. I'm not expecting any issues with the tyre temperature this weekend because of the Malaysian heat so I'm going to try to fight for the podium again."
Determined Tech3 duo head to Sepang ready to face final flyaway event
Monster Yamaha Tech3 team riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith confidently look on to the forthcoming Malaysian GP where they fully intend to round up the third consecutive flyaway Grand Prix with two strong results. The pioneering Sepang International Circuit will hold the penultimate event of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship this Sunday with a large number of enthusiastic fans expected to witness the action on track, after almost 89, 000 people attended race day last year.
Pol Espargaro aims to extend his competitive form in the triple back-to-back GP's by completing the Malaysian round in a top tier position aboard his Yamaha YZR-M1. The young Spaniard comes off the back of a notable showing in Australia, where he qualified on the front row and finished the sprint in 5th. Therefore, on Sunday he will once again be gunning to clinch the top satellite honours in what will be a demanding 20-lap sprint.
Meanwhile, Bradley Smith targets a solid result in Malaysia after exceeding expectations at Phillip Island by completing the race in 8th after a heroic ride, despite still suffering with a knee injury. The British star, who is approaching full fitness, intends to wrestle his MotoGP bike around the 5.5-kilometre circuit and end the weekend with another impressive performance.
Championship: 8th, 117 points
"Next up is Sepang and I am fired up for the challenge, plus I hope to continue my good form during the flyaway GP's as the season draws to a close. In all honesty, the Malaysian circuit is not one of my favourites because everyone knows every detail as we have ridden it so many times during the winter tests, so I feel like the rider can't really make a big difference. In addition, the factory teams have a huge amount of data so the distance between them and the satellite guys is usually quite significant. However, I also have positive memories of this track as I scored four podium finishes there over the last 7 years. Plus the circuit has been resurfaced since the winter tests and hopefully we will have some surprises with the Michelin tyres so I remain optimistic about my chances. In any case, I will do my absolute best at this GP, as always, before we head back to my home country for the season finale in Valencia."
Championship: 17th, 53 points
"We know that the Malaysian Grand Prix is always challenging, not only with the heat and the humidity, but also because the track is very physically demanding as there are a lot of corners and hard braking areas. We are coming off the back of two consecutive MotoGP weekends and this one will be the third in succession yet, it's a circuit that I do like, and of course, I am looking forward to riding it. I've got some good memories of Sepang, such as last year where I finished fourth in the GP. With regards to my injury, I feel like my knee is getting stronger all the time, so we'll see how I do in the challenging conditions but I am upbeat. Right now, we have found a solid balance with the bike and I am closing in on full fitness, so let's try to keep the momentum and we will take the positives from the Australia weekend in order to be ready for the heat of Sepang."